MIAMI, Dec. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans who simply let their health insurance roll over from 2014 to 2015 would be wise to take a second look at their coverage, according to a new study released today. Odds are, they'll be paying more than they need to in the new year. The good news is, they have until February 15th to correct what may be a costly oversight.
Under the open enrollment provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Americans must have personal health insurance, either through their employer or by purchasing it themselves, or be subject to a hefty tax penalty. The first deadline for shopping plans in time for January 1 coverage was December 15th.
HealthCare.com, the nation's leading private comparison tool and search engine for health insurance plans, today released a white paper study that found 68.2% of the 42,728 plans available on the federal marketplace in both 2014 and 2015 (same Plan ID for the same state/county/rating area) have premium increases of at least $10 for the coming year – that's 29,129 plans in all. Increases are automatically passed on to consumers who did not proactively shop a new plan and consequently were automatically enrolled in the ones they had. On its website, HealthCare.com offers federal plans, as well as virtually all the state exchange plans and many private off-exchange plans.
Fortunately, these increases don't have to happen, and consumers have a second chance to put money back in their pockets. The same study found that 85.6% of the federal marketplace plans have at least one similar alternative plan available that would prevent a consumer from paying a premium increase, and would either hold medical deductibles steady or even decrease them in most cases. More than 70% of the federal marketplace plans have an average of 4.8 money-saving alternative plans available. And, on average, those plans can save consumers up to $703.32 a year.
Consumers who did not proactively pick a plan by December 15th, and consequently auto-enrolled in the same plan for 2015, still have until February 15, 2015, under the ACA to pick a new plan.
"Multiple news reports have cited the broad, and often steep increases in health insurance premiums and related costs," said Dr. April Seifert, Data Innovation Lead for HealthCare.com. "The fact is, with 85% of the federal marketplace plans, there are money-saving alternatives available that may work just as well as a current plan. Many consumers will benefit from doing a little comparison shopping. And with all of the insurance shopping sites available, including HealthCare.com, it's easier than ever to take a look at the plan options out there."
Many health insurance shoppers have done just that. Earlier this month, HealthCare.com reported that it had seen a nearly 60 percent increase in the number of people that the online service had successfully referred to one of its insurance partners to buy a healthcare plan. The increase was determined after analyzing HealthCare.com consumer referrals three weeks prior to the beginning of the November 15th open enrollment period for health insurance, compared to the week prior to December 15th. Since December 5th, referral business has increased 88 percent compared to the prior week. And, based on how referrals were trending, HealthCare.com estimated that it is on pace to help more than 400,000 connect with agents, call centers, web-based entities and other enrollers to find medical insurance coverage during the federally mandated enrollment period that ends on February 15, 2015.
Since 2006, HealthCare.com has been a provider of online healthcare-related services. Over the years HealthCare.com has continued to grow and offer the country's most comprehensive selection of health insurance options, including nearly all state-based exchange plans, federal exchange plans and many private, off-exchange plans. Using proprietary technology that continues to expand, HealthCare.com helps consumers compare costs and subsidies for free, and enables them to purchase their insurance online, over the phone with a licensed advisor, or in person with a local agent.
HealthCare.com recently announced $7.5 million in Series A funding, led by Jeffery H. Boyd and Robert J. Mylod, Jr. Mr. Boyd is Chairman of the Board of The Priceline Group and was its Chief Executive Officer from 2002 to 2013. Before joining priceline.com, Mr. Boyd was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Oxford Health Plans, Inc. Mr. Mylod served as Priceline's Chief Financial Officer from 1998 to 2009 and as its Vice Chairman from 2009 to 2012. Mr. Mylod serves on the Board of Directors of Dropbox, EverBank Financial Corp. and Redfin.
HealthCare.com has been a longtime provider of online healthcare-related service since the company's founding back in 2006. Privately-owned HealthCare.com is the nation's leading unbiased search and comparison engine for personal healthcare. The website features virtually all of the state-based exchange plans, federal exchange plans and many private, off-exchange plans. Using powerful proprietary technology and tools, HealthCare.com continues to grow its technology, interfaces and services to help consumers compare health insurance costs and subsidies for free, and enable them to purchase their insurance online, over the phone with a licensed advisor, or in person with an expert, local agent. HealthCare.com's goal is to help consumers easily research information and compare health insurance quotes from insurance carriers using interactive tools and an intuitive interface. The company's website offers trusted recommendations and a comparison shopping experience to simplify decision-making, allowing consumers to find the right health insurance plan that fits their lifestyle. It also offers online calculators and shopping tools to make buying easier and more efficient. With more than one million visitors each month, HealthCare.com partners, and integrates with industry-leading health insurance companies to help consumers enroll into plans. HealthCare.com has offices in New York City, Miami, Minneapolis and Guatemala City. For more information, visit www.healthcare.com.
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